Advances of nanotechnologies for hydraulic fracturing of coal seam gas reservoirs: potential applications and some limitations in Australia

Hannah Marsden, Sudeshna Basu, Alberto Striolo, Melanie MacGregor

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Abstract

Some of the most promising potential applications of nanotechnology to hydraulic fracturing of coal seam gas (CSG) are reviewed with a focus on Australian CSG wells. Three propitious applications were identified: (1) Nanoparticle enhanced viscoelastic surfactants (VES) fracturing fluids to prevent fluid loss by up to 30%, made possible by the formation of pseudo-filter cakes and reducing the viscosity of the VES fluids. Besides, there is no requirement of clay control additives or biocides. (2) Nano-proppants to extend fracture networks and reduce proppant embedment by introducing them prior to the emplacement of larger proppants. Fly Ash nanoparticles can be particularly effective because of their high sphericity and mechanical strength. (3) Nanoparticle-coated proppants, to mitigate the migration of particle fines by restricting them close to their source by adsorption, with MgO being the most effective. The use of nanotechnology in hydraulic fracturing applications is currently hindered due to a discordant regulatory environment compounded by the cost of the nanoparticles themselves, as well as, a lack of field data to validate the technology under real downhole conditions. Although the necessary field tests are unlikely to be conducted for as long as abundant natural gas is available, exploratory studies could pave the way for future applications. 

Original languageEnglish
Article number27
Number of pages18
JournalInternational Journal of Coal Science and Technology
Volume9
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2022

Keywords

  • Coal bed methane
  • Fracturing fluids
  • Nanoparticles
  • Natural gas
  • Proppant

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